TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia is home to almost 25,000 villages spread across the archipelago. The residents of 12,659 of those villages are still living without electricity. Approximately 65 percent of these villages are located in six provinces in the eastern part of the country.
Sudirman Said, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, revealed this fact during the Program Indonesia Terang (PIT) coordination meeting held in Jakarta, Tuesday, March 8.
The meeting was attended by state officials from relevant ministries including the Minister of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration, Marwan Jafar; Deputy Finance Mardiasmo; and the Director General of Electricity, Jarman.
There were also representatives of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) and the Board of Directors of state power company PT PLN.
The meeting was held with the goal of finding the proper solutions to the funding and implementation of the PIT, which is to provide electricity for underdeveloped villages using renewable energy sources.
Sudirman said electricity development in rural areas has been less than optimal since these villages, border areas and small islands is considered having little business and economic potentials. Investors have shown no interest in these areas, which in terms of geography, human resources and funding also pose other challenges for the PIT.
The situation also deepens the economic gap between these areas and Indonesia's more developed, more prosperous western parts.
Sudirman said the state needs to play a better role in bridging this gap by, among others, providing ample infrastructure, implementing a Feed-in Tariff scheme, and price subsidies.
"These schemes can patch the economic gap through the development of rural electricity. The fund is a kind of a viability gap fund, used to increase the economic viability of rural electricity development," the minister said.